Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Grueling Work Out!

Today started at 5:30. 
No more sleeping in: 
Summer is OVER!
While the coffee was brewing, I did Day #25 August Core Focus Challenge: two sets of 3 minute straight arm planks. Had a pre-workout snack (soy protein bar), and was off to the gym. After running hills, yesterday (yes, I know I shouldn't do hills before a track work out), I was a little tight, so I rolled (love TPTherapy). Next I did about 100 crunches, and about 75 push-ups.
After that I did four sets of eccentric load lunge drops
Eccentric Load Lunge Drops
& four sets of split-stance Zerchers, 
Split-Stance Zerchers
And then I did four sets of chest press, four sets of dips, and four sets of tricep kickbacks (love those).
Next stop: Home
By that time, I was starving. I ate a bowl of oatmeal,  finished my coffee, and got ready for my track work out. I'm gonna miss these morning track work outs. 
My Internship starts tomorrow. 
So, from now on, my track work outs will be Wednesday nights! Maybe that's why Coach made today's track work out a grueling tough one?
This summer was tough. 
I sat at my desk for 2/3 of the day doing homework for my Dietetic Internship. And now, it's going to be tough working all day, and going to the track at night. What's my alternative, though?
Today's work out started as usual:
Warm-up: Easy 1.5 miles.
Strides: Six 100 meter strides. (At 18 seconds. Yes - I am getting stronger! Woohoo!)
Then came the intervals ....
They were not that usual:
Twelve 300 meters intervals with a 100 meter jog. The first four sets: 6:40 pace, the next four: 6:30 pace, and the last four at 6:20 pace.
The guys from the UK that run the soccer camp for the kids were poking fun, "Ahahaha. Coach has finally got you winded! Hey (hahahahaha) you're REALLY winded!"
Ha-Ha: NOT
I was so sucking wind! Forget jogging that last 100 meters - I was just concentrating on simpler things like breathing and staying alive.
After the intervals, I got my "Golden Ticket"/homework for the next week:
Absolutely better than the
American Idol Golden Ticket!
After, I ran an easy 1.3 mile cool down. I ended with more foam rolling, lots of stretching, and four sets of 90 minutes of traditional planks (day #29 of the August Core Focus Challenge). They were the topping on the cake! I really struggled through them.
I loved today's work out, even though it was grueling. 
It was a sort of a farewell to my summer work outs!
Are you switching gears as summer winds down?
Do you have any tough grueling workouts that you love (but secretly hate)? (And if you say burpees, I totally agree!)
Train Smart Today!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Park City Half Marathon, Utah

What a great week! Hectic, but great!
Utah is absolutely spectacular!
Such a fun state!
Good Morning!
We flew into Salt Lake City & had lunch at Red Rock BrewPub! Utah has some odd drinking laws. All tap beers are 4%. Even a Belgian White Ale (my favorite beer) has only 4% alcohol!
Interesting fact: The Great Salt Lake is 10 X saltier than the ocean!
We took a short tour of some major sights in the city. Wow. Lots of churches!
Random Shot
Next, we were off to southeast Utah: Moab!
Moab is a blast! We went horseback riding ...
Mini-man, Girlfriend, and me!
Drove ATV's in the desert ...
Thankfully the guys at Moab Tour Company were pretty cool about everything!

Of course Sidekick rode a dirt bike!
Okay, we found Uranium Arch, but how do we get back?
Utah has some beautiful National Parks. We visited two: Arches and Canyonlands!
Climbing up Balanced Rock @ Arches!
The arches were amazing!
And Canyonlands was incredible!
Now you know how I got grey!
I was scaling back all week, but I ran three days out in Moab. There ain't nothing but road there.
It just goes on & on!
There's no need for MapMyRun. In New Jersey, I haft-a use MapMyRun to try to plan my runs along the most quiet residential streets because cars will literally pass right next to you (I think some people like to play chicken with the runners). You can imagine how surprised I was when people waved and drove into the other lane when they passed by (around those mountain curves, I went with the flow of traffic. I was scared not to know what was around the bend).
People Waved!
Next stop: 
Park City, Utah. 
Side-kick is a huge skier, so he's been to Park City before. By the time we got there, the Friday before my race, we were already exhausted. We tooled around the city. What a great little town. The galleries and handcrafted art and furniture reminded me a lot of  Vermont.
We had pasta at Grappa - so I could carb load.
When we were finishing dinner, we saw George Lucas, the director of Star Wars! 
We were all pretty star struck! 
It was a good distraction' cause after dinner, I got a little nervous about the half. I kept thinking, 'I only live a couple of hundred feet above sea level, how am I gonna climb to 7,000 feet? There was one point in the day, before packet pick-up, that I actually started to cry, wondering how I would complete the run. My goal has been to come in the top 10 in my age group for these halves - and so far, I have in all but three. I often think I should run them again. There was no way that I was going to want to run at 7,000 feet again! Sidekick, and my two kids were cheering me on.
You can do this, Mommy!
I can do this, I can do this, I can do this!
When we drove to get the packet, everyone was really nice. I got a great big Lululemon bag. It's nice and sturdy! When I came out, Sidekick said, "You have nothing to worry about. I think someone is trying to send you a message."
Mustang with three 3's
Now if you know me, you know I kept my late husband's car, the 35th Edition Mustang Convertible. I call her RADRLUV. I learned how to drive her after 9/11 - I was determined! And if you know my story, you know that John used to call me up from the 104th floor of the World Trade Center to rush out these words, before he'd hang up and get back to that insane job:
"It's 3:33. I love you, I love you, I love you! I gotta go. Talk to ya' later!"
There we were, after packet pick up in a parking lot full of Mustangs. All different kinds. And then there was the one with the three 3's! Wow! A sort of calm came over me and I heard in my head,
"You got nothing to worry about. You're gonna do just fine" 
And for the rest of the day, every time I got nervous, I just repeated,
"You got nothing to worry about. You're gonna do just fine." 
The race started on Saturday morning, a bit late, around 8am, on a beautiful day about 60*F.
I'm somewhere in there!
Looked a lot different during the race, with runners &
little children handing out water & PowerAid
Without the humidity, I climbed, a steady 1% for the first seven miles - all the way up to 7,000 feet. I felt myself trying to catch my breath and suck in as much air as possible. We ran passed this barn, and kept climbing up steadily. I heard strange huffs & puffs from my mouth, like my suffering had a voice of its own. I was feeling it. After the turn around, when we started to come back down, my legs felt like rubber. Worse than I've ever even felt on the track. I felt like my legs had a mind of their own, and they were just flailing out from my hips. I kept thinking "Core, Core, Core. Stabilize your core" I didn't want to go home with a hamstring or knee injury - or another tendon injury!" Thanks to Kat at Sneakers and Fingerpaint's and her August Core Focus Challenge, my core felt strong.
And, I just kept running ....
The best part? 
Seeing my family at the end cheering me on! 
It's great to hear your kids shout, "Go, Mommyyyyyy. Gooooo!"
Mini-man, me & Girlfriend!
And it's great to fall into your best friend's arms,
and hear him say,
"I'm so proud of you!"
Side-Kick & Me!
So PC was not my fastest half (duh!), but I did manage to place in the top 10 in my age group, 5 minutes off of third, taking #8!
But this trip & race ranks up there as one of the best!
If I didn't train so hard leading up to this race, and I didn't watch what I ate, making sure I ate enough lean protein, healthy fats, whole grains & a variety of fruits & veggies (which is really hard to do on vacation), I doubt I would have done as good as I did.
Cheers to half #17, and my 16th state!
Train Smart Today!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Food Facts: Five Strategies for Weight Loss

I just got off the phone with my Sissy ...
Of course she is doing the AbChallenge with me!
And yes, we did commiserate over Day 5!
I did six sets: one minute of both X 3, with a 1-minute rest in between!
I also got back from getting my haircut.
It was getting on my nerves, so I took a couple inches off.
Picture to come ....
All day, it seemed people were talking weight loss.
One who completely stopped eating carbs ... why would you do that?
Another incorporating protein powders in their smoothies. And so I ask ...
Do you work out for more than an hour each day?
Have a chronic illness?
Frequently eat poorly?
The answer: "No." 
So, I don't get it ...Why the protein powder?
And another, who really does need to lose weight.
This got me thinking about Five Strategies that I've heard & are worth talking about. First, though, some basics. I volunteer for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics SCAN Group (Sports, Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutrition), and we just posted this to Linked In:

Now for the Five Strategies:
  1. YOLO Guide: When you go out to eat, put YOLO (You only live once) aside. It is not time for a food frenzy. Just because you go out to eat doesn't give you the right to wreak havoc on your body. Men: Strive for a 2 drink limit. Women: Strive for a one drink limit. GASP! Think of it this way: Water doesn't cost as much - put some lemon in it if your that desperate.
  2. Dining Out Portion Guide: Ask your waiter for a take away container when you put your order in. Okay, so you say, "Screw #1!" You're going for that 10 oz Porterhouse steak! Well, sloooooow down. You can get that, but remember page #4 in the 10 simple steps? A serving of beef is only 3 oz! What if you took that 10 oz steak, cut it in 1/2, and put half in the take away container? You can have the other half as a left over the next day! I know you're not eating 3 oz, but you're also not eating 10 oz. You get to eat what you like, but you are learning how to manage your portion sizes. Next stop: 1/2 of those mashed potatoes or french fries ...
  3. Tastebud Kids: Treat your taste buds like they are four year old children. Would you give your 4 year old a 1/2 gallon of ice cream? Would you give your 4 year old cart blanche on that bag of chips, cookies, or bag of candy? Heck no! So tell your taste buds, "Hold on there, you can't have that right now. You just ate ... breakfast, lunch, or dinner." Tell them, "You are not the boss of me." And if you must, and can control yourself unlike a kid in the candy store, go ahead and have one serving, but read the Nutrition Facts, and know what that serving size really is!
  4. Post-it: That's right. You got a weight loss or healthy eating goal - POST-IT! This way, when you come home from work, and go into that cabinet that has the "snacks you bought for the kids", your will STOP! Read your Post-it note: "Grab an apple!" or "Yogurt with some chopped walnuts and blueberries: STAT!"
  5. Manage your food & Start small: One person I was talking to today was telling me what they were going to eat for lunch. They bought some tuna and some veggies. For me, that would not be enough. This is the first day of their "diet". My advice: Don't go home hungry - because you know that cabinet with the "snacks you bought for the kids"? You're gonna just rip that Post It note off, and dive in. The stomach empties about every 3-4 hours. It wants to be full. It plays havoc on those four year old taste buds. You will set yourself up for failure if you do not eat. Let's face it, how is an apple gonna fill you up when you get home from work, if all you ate was  2 oz of tuna and 2 oz of string beans all day? Manage your food. Bring yogurt and some fruit to work, and stash it in the frig. If you're thinking, I'll never do that, then Start Small. Do it once a week for a couple of weeks. Then, do it twice a week for a couple of weeks, and so on and so forth. Before you know it, you have incorporated a healthy habit into your diet. Next, make your own tuna, with some chopped up veggies, like carrots, and add in some lemon to cut down on the mayo. Don't say, "I'll never do it" - Instead, Start Small. Who knows - you may be doing this twice a week next month!
Do you have any healthy eating strategies?
What works for you?

Train Smart Today!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

August Core Focus Challenge

Download the Challenge Loop App, and join me in this Core Challenge:

Everybody likes great abs - and you need a solid core to hold yourself together when you're logging those long miles! I learned about this on Running With Attitude. I do about 200 ab/core exercises a day. I'm obsessed with abs! I love doing them.
I use them as my warm-up before I go out for a run. 
Today, I don't know why, I did the Core Challenge, Planks, after my 14 miles. Wow! Talk about rough! It was good, 'cause I foam rolled before I went for my long run, and didn't do core, so the challenge kept me dedicated, in spite of the fact that I was pretty tired after my run. It's a great motivator!
Work that Core!
Yeah there are prizes, $100 to 5 peeps to PacSun, but even if there weren't any prizes, it's a fun motivator. 
Have you ever entered a challenge like this before?
Did you ever win anything?
I never did anything like this before!
Train Smart Today!